I get my news from a variety of places and then I interpret it through my personal biases and ignorance, my experiences and values and my own fantasies. By the time I get any real thinking going on, 80% of it has already come from the very limited mental vault that is Dave’s aging brain. I.e. my thinking is crap. Still, it is my crap, it is at least somewhat grounded in my own personal reality (I hope) and I try real hard to be honest. But, of course, I come up short.
“How do you know when you are wrong?”
Sal will tell me.
Still, I think. Therefore I am. And this is what I am thinking now – and this thought comes from inferential scanning and non-scientific thinking – in other words: I cannot cite my sources, I cannot validate my thoughts, I cannot legitimately defend the following hypothesis….but I have these thoughts nevertheless. All my thoughts on this topic are ‘inferential’ or hunches based on nothing…maybe a few articles….maybe fantasy…..a dash of ignorance, a pinch of nutty. I am a sensitive guy.
Dateline 2020. People are leaving the cities. Starting now! I thought that might happen when I left but eventually I concluded that I was not the centre of everyone’s universe and so my departure meant nothing to them. A trend did not happen. Still, the forces that moved me would eventually move others – or so I thought.
That did not happen either. At least it did not happen right away.
A few people seemed to be on the same wavelength as me and, to be fair, within a few years there was a Netflix series on OTG/Doomsday preppers and lots of ads offering OTG products but the actual EXODUS was a trickle at best, a few blips now and then. The world was NOT moving OTG.
But housing prices are a REAL harbinger of people’s inclinations, commitments, desires. And housing prices in the US are an eye-opener right now. Homes in Silicon Valley are dropping. Homes in San Francisco and dozens of other cities are dropping. Rents are dropping. That can only happen when DEMAND drops.
Why would demand drop?
Part of it is C-19. No, people are not leaving to escape the disease, they are leaving because they can. C-19 legitimized and accelerated the trend to work-from-home. That is especially true for the computer economy and nothing says computer economy more than Silicon Valley and California. Those who live and work in the digital world can now do so from afar. And their employers are encouraging it. The price of housing in Silicon Valley in the 90’s was astronomical. Today? Urban vacancy rates are high and housing prices are dropping.
But it is NOT just Northern California. Many large cities are facing a slow exodus as people discover that they can have a better life either in the ‘burbs or further out. It seems that the ten largest cities in the US are flat or declining in population. Suburban is popular. Rural is now hip. Who would have thought a virus could show us the way?
In fact, even extreme satellite locations are growing. Panama for instance. Many modern folks can live and work in the US economy while living in a foreign country. Cheaper. Healthier. Probably safer. And, they are doing it.
The really weird thing is this: first went the specialists – those were the celebrities, actors and the capitalists. They went remote when I did. Decades ago. But the ‘specialists’ are NOT a movement. The numbers are too small. But then went the paranoid – those who could afford it and wanted out from what they saw as either an oppressive society or a vulnerable one. Then came the young romantics – the modern equivalent of back-to-the-landers. They are NOT a huge segment but, with the paranoid and the celebrity/elite, they created a bit of a ‘phenomena’. Where I fit, I have no idea but there is no question I am part of the ‘phenomena’. Frankly, I think I am a Johnny-come-lately but I was an early Johnny and there was a smidge of ground-breaking involved…I think. NOT a lot. I surfed in on an easy wave.
The point? I do not have one. Inferential scanning (as stated) is not verifiable by way of current data and analysis. Inferential scanning is another way of saying, ‘I have a hunch’. This is the gut doing the talking.
My gut tells me the exodus has begun.